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Life’s Ups and Downs

Sometimes we have patches in our lives where ever thing seems so go right. We’ve had our share, perhaps more than our fair share, but I think we made the best of them. For the flip side of this are the patches were luck is not on your side. We seem to be going through and extended patch of this.

Yesterday we visited Prof Linch in London to discuss my recent symptoms (which have been slowly deteriorating) and the results of the MRI. The Profs. conclusion is that the disease I had has begun to return. What is less certain is what was the disease I had and what may be returning. There is a possibility of the Epstein-Barr virus being involved and to confirm or exclude this as a possibility my brain biopsy taken nearly a year ago is currently being examined. It will still be lymphoma (I understand) either way but the treatment would be different. So, more waiting for more results but one thing is certain, treatment will begin soon. Joy.

What was a real joy was meeting up with Mike and Anne from Callisto who are in the area (the boat is in Malaysia). They visited our home for an hour or so before we all went out for a Chesham Tandoori. Yum. We took them to Anne’s parents after the meal who live in the next town, Amersham. Funny connection when one thinks we first met Anne and Mike in Costa Rico after they’d recently been ht by lightening.

I’ll keep all of you updated as best I can via private message and/or this blog. Next results are the brain and cheek biopsies and the proposed treatment plans. In between all this we still may get to visit a few houses so we’ll keep you up to date with that too.

Last Two Days in South Africa

On our last day but one we decided to go to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens.  Our legs were still screaming from the walk down the mountain a couple of days earlier so we practised being very old folk and keeping mostly on the gentle paths and avoiding steps as much as possible.  It was a peaceful interlude allowing ourselves some time to think about the days ahead.  We barely covered a fraction of the gardens as they were vast.  Several visits would be required to get a sense of the place.

We returned to our lodgings for 2-3 hours to rest and to pack.  In the evening we went to the V&A docks area.  Our first stop was the marina just in case there was someone there who we knew.  There weren’t but it was nice to be down by the water.  It was a bittersweet experience though as it is already beginning to look like another life, one which we sometimes find it hard to believe we’ve experienced for ourselves.  We ate out in the docks area.

Upon awaking on our final day we discovered an email from South African friends of ours (Ruth and Rob on Albatross III) who are now domiciled in New Zealand.  We first met them, briefly, when we were in the Rosarios in Colombia and then many times across the Pacific (including New Zealand).  They have a daughter, Savannah, in Cape Town who they asked us to go and see.  The biggest sacrifice cruisers make is separation from their families so we knew how much this request meant.  So we dumped some admin on my sister (sorry Sue) to make time to go and give their daughter a surprise visit and proxy hugs from her Mum.  We then visited the District 6 museum in town followed by a walk in The Company Gardens.

Soon, our time was up.  It was back to the lodgings, pick up our luggage and off to the airport, drop off the hire car, and take the long flights home to the UK.


Final sign offs occurred in the last hour (plus the time it took to write this).  Dignity is effectively sold.  Settlement is still to occur so there remains a small risk this won’t complete but we feel this is unlikely.

There is much I want to say about the whole selling process in Australia and much I shouldn’t.  I need to think carefully.  I will compose myself and say more at later date.

But for now I want to thank, publicly, those that helped us get to this point.

First, middle and last has to be for Sarah and Russ who looked after us through the dark days, weeks and months last year.  It’s hard, even now, to think back to those days.  They were truly difficult and you guys were so good to us.

Big thanks have to go to Trish and Peter Cronk for all the support they gave to Helen, working out what to do with the boat when it was stuck in Fiji and Peter for your support during the sale.

Huge thanks and admiration to Peter (and supporting wife Christina) for getting Dignity and especially our son Sam to Australia despite the dis-masting along the way.

Thanks again to Brian and Janine for all your help and friendship.

And thanks to all our cruising friends who helped look after Dignity and get her to sale.  Special thanks go to Bert and Ingi (Boree) and March and Pam on Passages.

There’s a saying that the two happiest days of a boat owners life are the day they buy their boat and the day they sell it.  There may be a big relief today but the phrase is not true.  Our happiest days were all those we spent with our family and friends along the way.  The exotic places, the sundowners, all of that helped of course but when we look back, it was always the people that mattered the most and brought the greatest happiness.

This was the third and final pending announcement, if you hadn’t already figured it out.  Ben and Amy’s engagement has brought us by far the most joy.  My hair, it continues to grow along with my health, strength and optimism for our future.

South Africa

We had an excellent few days with the Whiskers up in Durban.  Nothing strenuous.  Just hanging out together, watching cricket, watching the local monkeys, recovering from hangovers, the usual sort of thing.

All too soon it was time to leave as Helen and I had to get down to Grahamstown to meet my side of the family there. We had opted to go via bus – a scheduled 12 hour journey.

Diane and Gerald took us to the bus station and saw us off. It was nice to have them there as the bus departed half an hour late resulting in our having a little extra time together.

The bus arrived in Grahamstown two and a half hours late. You can imagine how much of a chore it was. My sister, Sue, picked us up and we made a brief stop off at my parents to say hello. They were facing their final evening in temporary accommodation before moving into their new home the following day. It was a nice surprise for them as they hadn’t expected us to show for another couple of days.

We ended up back with Sue and quite uncharacteristically drank too much wine before going to bed.

On Tuesday it was nice to be able to help my parents with their move and settling in. Sue has done most of the work organising their move but every little helps.

Since then it’s been a matter of spending time with my parents in their new home. They’re both more active than we’d expected which was great to learn. For now we’ll spend the next few days helping to sort things out resulting from the move and gradually ramp up dealing with our future (and past – taxes !!!!) which all needs to be done. Joy.

Hong Kong / Kowloon Day 6

Very almost a full day as our flight out is at 23:45. So we’ve had a day to fill. This time we really did take it easy in the morning. Well I did. I caught up on the blog while Helen packed. It does work best that way.

Around midday we left our bags with hotel and headed out. We had lunch at the Lie Heung Tea House in Central Hong Kong. The food didn’t impress us but it was a real experience eating with the press of Chinese that frequented this popular spot.

After lunch we decided to watch a movie, Django Unchained, at the movie theatre in the very posh IFC Mall in the area. We really enjoyed it and at 2½ hours long it certainly killed some time. It had to be one of the most comfortable theatres we’ve ever sat in, complete with polished leather chairs to sit in.

After the movie we headed to the roof of the mall which we’d read had great views. It did, as long as we ignored the building work going on in front of us. We did have a small surprise when we recognised, nearby, the building from the TV adaptation of Nobel House by James Clavell. We had thought it might have been torn down since the TV 3 parter. It did look a little dwarfed by the very tall buildings nearby which had gone up since the series but it was there.

Feeling as if we hadn’t quite had enough of the crushing press of Chinese locals in the street market we headed off to Chunking Manions and Mong Kok to pic up some last minute pressies.

We decided to go to the airport early which was good as the taxi driver dropped us off at the wrong terminal. We then waited at the wrong gate and nearly missed the plane but were found by the airport staff in time. D’Oh.

After many interminable hours of flying we had a fast change over at Joberg before flying on to Durban where we were met by Dianne and Gerald from Whiskers.

The conversation, beer and wine carried on from where it left off back in French Polynesia in 2010. We’ll be here in Durban for a few days before heading down to Grahamstown to visit my family there.